Skip to main content

Peter Jackson explains why he remastered the "inconsistent" effects in the Lord of the Rings 4K release

Sean Astin and Eliijah Wood in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
(Image credit: IMDb)

If you’re looking to rewatch the Lord of the Rings movies in shiny 4K, you’re in luck – both the original trilogy and The Hobbit movies have been remastered. 

Peter Jackson, who directed all six Middle-earth movies over the course of almost 15 years, decided to make remastering a priority after rewatching the franchise. He noticed some visual inconsistencies with the effects in the first three instalments of the series starring Elijah Wood as hobbit Frodo Baggins: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.

“It was interesting going back and revisiting these films, because I realized how inconsistent they were, and that’s really due to the way in which The Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot first, about 20 years ago,” Jackson said in a recent interview with Warner Bros ahead of the 4K release on Blu-ray and digital. 

“The Lord of the Rings was shot on 35mm. The colour timing was done in an old-fashioned photo mechanical way for the first Lord of the Rings movie, then we switched to digital colour timing for the 35mm for the next two. Being able to tweak individual colours we just couldn’t do 20 years ago, so it’s fun having all the toys now. We didn’t have all this stuff to play with in the old days.”

However, when it came to adapting Tolkein’s prequel novel The Hobbit into a further three Martin Freeman-led movies, Jackson chose to shoot on digital cameras and used a different technology for the colour timing process.

"It’s always a meddle to make something feel consistent that was shot over a long period of time,” Jackson added. “Even though they are six movies, it didn’t have a consistency with the look of the film just due to the time they were made…It’s great having all the films looking like they were shot at the same time.”

As well as in the remastered movies, we’ll have a chance to see Middle-earth completely anew in the upcoming Amazon series – here’s everything we know so far about the Lord of the Rings TV show

I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.